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tv   John Hechinger True Gentlemen  CSPAN  December 30, 2017 10:00am-11:03am EST

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prepared specifically for roosevelt. it has the presidential seal engraved on the breach, and of course roosevelt was famous for the bullmoose party and their is a bullmoose engraved on the side plate of this gun. >> watch these then's cities tour on january 6th and seventh on c-span2's booktv and american history tv on c-span2. working with our cable affiliates as we explore america. >> greetings, thank you for coming up today. i am the event coordinator here at politics and prose. on behalf of everybody here thank you for coming out. we have another event after this today so after the event, leave your chairs where they are. we also are reporting this
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event, c-span is here as well. during the question and answer portion of the program, step up to the microphone over here, we want to be able to hear what you have to say. always wonderful as well. so today, and colleges across the country. and many books written about it as well. and the national organization, and it is a bit extreme, why are we listening to john today on this. two time winner of the book award, the only reporter
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granted the cooperation, president, and a finalist for the pulitzer a few years ago, quite a few honors there, and he is joined by the top editor of the chronicle for higher education and author of the book there is life after college and with that i will leave it to them, thanks for coming up. [applause] >> it is great to be here, welcome to washington. we are going to talk for 25 minutes or so and open up for questions from the audience but i want a sense of who is in the audience. how many of you were in fraternities? a couple. how many of you, parents or children in fraternities. maybe a third in fraternities
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our parents. first question for you is where you in a fraternity? >> i was not. i had to learn a lot to get this to work. >> if you were not in a fraternity, how did you come to write a book about fraternities? >> i wrote a series at bloomberg news about hazing and alcohol-related deaths. when i was finished i found myself with all these questions. why did young men so desperately want to join these organizations when they were putting their lives at risk essentially? why is it many of the young men i met seemed to get a lot from fraternities and the headlines were so awful? i just thought this is a
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mystery to me and i wanted to explore it further. >> did it hurt you were not in a fraternity in terms of your reporting or you were not in the fraternity, how do you understand this? >> actually, one of the extraordinary things about the reporting is after doing this series which focused heavily on sigma alpha epsilon. >> i'm going to give you my microphone. >> i am going to scream my question. >> the fraternity itself was very open to my exploration. and and and very open.
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and and the undergraduate experience. >> the book looks through history, fraternity and secret societies, was integrated, they were segregated themselves and a lot longer to integrate, not integrated today, very white, not necessarily friendly to gays. what about their history, and
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>> >> women, minorities, they did not open their doors and they kept themselves, as white male organizations, and they created a system we had today, where newcomers founded their own organizations, african-american fraternities, jewish fraternities open to catholics and women's fraternities or sororities and people we had today was a direct reflection of that. there is an extraordinary amount of segregation.
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>> given where society is going, college students today and tomorrow are more diverse than ever before and women make up a large majority on most campuses, 60%, does that mean fraternities will be on a decline because fewer men on campus come more diverse men when there are men, are on the decline? as a result? >> that was one of the most interesting contradictions to me, you would think they would be in decline but they are more popular than they have ever been. 400,000 members, 50% more than a decade ago. they are at their high watermark. as much as there may be a challenge in terms of men having less presence and not achieving at the same level as women on college campuses, there are central to college life, very successful as leaders, very successful in
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student government, they often control social life, access to alcohol and the network is just unbelievable. it can catapult a young man into a career in business or politics, there was a study that came out this year, your grade point average tends to go down, but earnings go up more than one third. there are a lot of advantages to joining so they are going to remain a strong presence. >> i was really surprised how big fraternities are as a business. a sense of the business of fraternities, they own a lot of properties, schools have them,
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and campus. >> a quarter of 1 million students, basically the largest landlords, at colleges. they are very much a presence, national organizations, $200 million in revenue. or million alumni, living alumni, a disproportionate rol what led to their rise was the
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changing -- drinking age. drinking age 18 to 21, with alcohol. solidified the role of drinking in fraternities, drinking has been a strong culture going back 100 years and even in the case of sce, their founder might -- might have died because of alcohol. the culture of drink. >> in 1856, the founder was a valedictorian going to princeton's theological
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seminary, a confederate chaplain, he died and was the first alabamians to die in the civil war, falling off a peer into the waters, swept away, found him days earlier. there is no evidence he had been drinking at all, suggest that kind of double personalities that i have seen. and famous and important leaders. a temperance advocate. wrote the history, 1500 page history that helps me write the book, he we gave speeches is a teenager against drinking and was against fraternities and won over by the fellowship so if you go to the fraternity
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headquarters, cathedral like building in the campus of northwest from the beginning, rioting, that way from the beginning. >> condemned by college president, by most campuses today have an office even though despite all the problems fraternities have they seem to have embraced them, why would they embrace them, and this in the book, when you look on
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these websites, great thing your children should join, higher education has a love-hate relationship for fraternities until something goes wrong. >> definitely fair. and indiana university where i spent a lot of time, social life and fraternities, and attorneys afterwards, indiana university, they make up 19% of alumni, 60% of donors, a great deal of power attract students.
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and and -- >> really responsible. do parents understand some type of responsibility to come back to them. >> one of the issues i looked at a lot in the book is insurance, that is how we started looking at fraternities. since the 80s fraternities held a lot of trouble getting insurance and their risk is just above toxic waste dumps in terms of their -- fraternity struggled with this, and to craft insurance policies that
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excluded drinking and hazing and sexual assault which on a lot of levels makes sense because you don't want to subsidize that. what tends to happen is when something terrible happens someone dies in a hazing incident and there is a lawsuit, fraternity members themselves for liability insurance doesn't cover them but covers the national organization. they are on their own, these lawsuits can drag years. parents tap into their homeowners policies to hire lawyers and pay settlements. >> most parents don't know that. >> host: the title of the book "true gentlemen" comes from the creed for sae. at the beginning a true gentleman is a man whose conduct proceeds from goodwill and a sense of propriety. you think these are supposed to
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be gentlemen who are supposed to act well, but you knows in the book all the incidents of alcohol death, other incidentss that stem from alcohol, sexual assaults. just how bad is it and how does it compare? most people say it is no worse than everything else on campus, alcohol and special assaults on college campuses and no worse. >> and high profile
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organizations. the social science research is clear fraternity men drink more than anyone else on campus, they binge drink at twice the level of other members on campus, study after study showed this. if you are worried about the drinking problem is the place you want to look. in terms of sexual assault. fraternity parties themselves, women who frequent fraternity parties are at 11/2 times sexual assaults. what i am not clear about is whether that has to do with sexual assaults involving alcohol environment and what fraternity parties are like or something about the culture themselves and also some research about attitudes, men
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in fraternities, consent, and disturbing emails have become public about that kind of thing. >> houses with many rooms tends to drive them so it is hard to get home to these places. part of this is part of the culture and planning of these events. >> it is invite only. for women, all women are welcome. very high ratio of women to men which is another part of the appealing reasons to join a fraternity, you have access to
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these parties but you do that. if you have liquor served by underage bartenders, a lot of people, freshman women who are away from home for the first time, that is what a sociologist described, predictable outcome. that means there is a serious problem. >> host: the stories you talk about in the book, you have an amazing amount of reporting about specific incidences at different institutions and one case in cornell, they basically leave the guy on the couch overnight and he is dead by the next morning. we have seen more recent incidences including one at penn state where cameras capture the entire night of a student who died there and makes you wonder, you talk
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about students at cornell, very selective school, many are athletes, varying backgrounds, the smartest kids in the country by going to cornell. what happens when they are in this environment that logic does not kick in. there was a moment in reading these reports that somebody says maybe we should go to the hospital or do something, this groupthink takes over and they go on. what happens, as a pattern. students ended up dying. did anybody ever say we should stop? >> a lot of students in february were saying you got to
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take this guy to the hospital, there was a problem, if you report that you have been drinking, perhaps the university will -- you have a situation where there is a lot of underage drinking and chapters lie to the university about underage drinking and someone gets really drunk and dangerous, a decision made, he is going to be okay, sleep it off, all passed out and it will be fine. it is not a recognition how dangerous this is. so many cases where the most dangerous hazing, you take a freshman, doesn't know his alcohol tolerance and give him a bag of liquor and he called something like the men challenge and prey on people's
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insecurities. one of the chapters in maryland involved -- i spoke with for hours and hours and got a sense why he stuck with it. why would he do this? he wanted the social life, he thought it was a way to succeed in life, work on wall street and once he suffered the early indignities, he was trapped in a basement for nine i was listening to a horrible metal music. he was a prisoner down there forced to drink, been with the paddle. why would you continue? i have already done this part way through.
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it is not going to get worse, it keeps getting worse. that is the other thing, it is hard to stop, you lost free will almost. >> host: the story fascinated me because you grew up in montgomery county, maryland, salisbury university, transferred to the university of maryland, his whole life changed because of these few weeks in terms of pledging the fraternity. talk about how it took him into a different direction that you didn't expect? >> guest: he wanted to join and he didn't just drop out, he reported to the police and dropped that. he didn't pursue that as far. the school to their credit
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found out about this and started disciplinary proceeding where they documented the hazing he was telling us about. his name got out, he was harassed by fraternity members, he was basically lying and to this day, there are members who feel it didn't happen and i looked at this for a long time. i found another witness in the basement with him for nine hours and saw a lot of the stuff he said and the school said it happened but it is really hard and by the end he felt he didn't want to stay there anymore. >> host: he moved to the university of maryland living at home. >> guest: it was tough for him, he told me nightmares about it. it can be pretty traumatic. >> host: i'm a typical reporter, i focus on the negative of fraternities from most of the time.
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we talked about a lot of bad things. i heard some of what -- people will always call for fraternities and say you are focused on all the negative, how about all the great things fraternities do for people. talk about the positive side. >> guest: the positive side is really important, the historically positive side, when we of college today week of the residential experience, liberal arts, studying topics that will be useful for our careers, networking. fraternities help create that environment. when fraternity started, social fraternities started in the early 19th century, college was a dreary place. there weren't places to live. people were studying greek and
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latin, they were literary societies, american poetry. wanting to modernize and create a college experience and that continues today if you are going to a big impersonal college with tens of thousands of people. it is not easy. there were a lot of guys who felt their experience gave them a group of friends and gave them almost a family. there is good research from gallup that shows members of fraternities report a higher sense of well-being and feel they are better prepared for life, more loyal to their universities. >> host: a figure from indiana about the percentage of students. >> guest: there were 19% alumni but 60% donors. it is pretty common.
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>> host: that brings up an interesting point. my 20 years covering higher education, one of the things that is against reform our alums many of whom are pretty powerful, many of whom end of being on board and when you say we want to change athletics or fraternities or whatever, you can't do that because that was my college experience. do you sense that some of the love/hate relationship is the issue many of these people are pretty powerful and big donors in some cases, at colleges and universities, hard to reform these places when people are in powerful positions. >> guest: that is true. the founder of that chapter drew a $2 million donation. to the university -- talk about
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alumni, there is a split. there are also alumni who are upset about fraternities losing track of their founding value and working hard to try to go forward. the recent presidents, and different ways to move forward. after all these deaths, they had more deaths than any other fraternity, decided to ban pledging which is where most of the deaths happened a few years ago. and focusing on insurance, they have good data.
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and their losses -- something like 90% drop. one of the messages of the book i wanted to send is not like it is inevitable. it has gone on a long time but there are strands people can look at. they can ban pledging or focus on alcohol and there are reformers in fraternities who agree and want to work with colleges. the fraternity council, fraternity council agreed campuswide they would move to a ban on parties with alcohol. fraternity alumni can be a positive influence. >> host: if you have a question, there is a microphone right here.
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if you want to ask john any questions please do, right here and i will take them. reform. you mentioned reforming around banning pledging. what other reforms can put fraternities back on straight and narrow? .. the banning of pledging, some promise in saying freshmen -- first semester freshman year is not a good time to join a fraternal. might want to wait until a second year. some colleges trying that. that is the most dangerous time
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for a young man. so that's another possibility. i was also amazed how little data there was -- how little information you could find about what was actually happening, so i propose that the colleges would have public listings of where sexual assaults have occurred or at least reports of sexual assaults or alcohol-related hospitalizations by fraternities. fraternities are now -- they disclose they're grade point averages, and that's actually been pretty effective in terms of they compete with each other to have highest grade point averages, and also compete for having the safest fraternities and that's true about demographics. it's not widely known there are fraternity chapters that don't have any black members. when i went to the university of alabama there were a number that had never had a black member. it's not like that's public information and that's something that should be made public. i think that would push fraternities to change.
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>> question. >> i know this isn't the folk cut of your presearch but to the expect sororities do they have a separate universe? one that that sororities is interesting in the '60s when fraternals basically decided not to have inhouse advisers and not to have that much adult supervision, sororities kept an in-house adult living in every chapter, and they also almost all sororities ban alcohol in the chapter. so there are no parties with alcohol in the chapters. that's actually the chapters are lot nicer, not all trashed and that. you just don't see that many alcohol-related deaths at sororities so they're a lot
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safer. when the go to practice concern parties there are high risk, they're tree -- if you live in a sorority you might be at three times the risk for rape. so that's a mixed bag. so, i think if both fraternities and sororities have the same approach, i think fraternities would be safer. >> to what extent are fraternities religiously segregated? in my day i did not belong to a fraternity but there were jewish fraternities and gentile fraternities. has that changed? >> guest: yes, one of the main figures in the book, brad cohen was the first jewish president of sae.
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definitely progress on that front. especially since -- one chapter looks into the 1950s when -- before 1951 there was a clause in the laws that said you had to be an aryan to be a member of sc and i think it's neither parent could be a full-blooded ju it and was pretty -- that was hotly debated and actually dropped that clause in 1951 but in the transcript i found at the hearing they were doing it for basically public relations, and they kept discriminating for years after, but now -- i think that the religious -- i don't hear that much battles religious discrimination. do hear some fraternities in general antisemitic episodes, and there still are jewish -- historically jewish fraternals but i think now the issue really is more an issue of -- issued of
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race. in fact, i should say, i went to the most recent sae convention and there was a big debate about adding a nondiscrimination clause, and at first actually members lined up and said, we don't want to have a nondiscrimination laws. it's like, you know -- because we'll be opened up to lawsuits which shocked the leadership. and then it failed because you need a two-thirds vote to pass, and the members talked to each other, the minority members particularly were extremely upset about this, and they went back the next morning and there were passionate speeches, including from steve churchill, who is here in the audience work how this isn't who we are, we have a history, we need to address it. and it completely changed. they added the discrimination
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clause. they dropped -- the discrimination -- they added a nondiscrimination clause. sorry. it was really a very dramatic moment. there was huge applause. you can see there has been some change. >> thank you. >> seems like you showed a lot of -- have there been any response after your book came out from the fraternities about what they want to do with response to it? >> about the historical response in. >> yes. >> i've had some conversations where i think there are leaders who would like this to be addressed. one of the issues that i came across is that leadership school is named after this guy, mostly, a big -- mosley, a major figure
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in sa and was adamant about keeping segregation, and this is something that is not just fraternities. all colleges are sort of struggling with this. it's important to recognize and to tell people that these leaders have these flaws because they could be blind spots. it's a good point. >> thank you for your work. we have always been told, the adage that sunday morning in some saturdays are your most segregated time in the united states of america and this is in the churches, okay? so it looks like they may be running neck and neck with the fraternities, and i had never given much thought to that, but certainly thank you for your work and thanks mr. churchill so that we can give him some applause. my question is, what did they substitute in place of the banning of hazing and banning
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of -- because they do something. so now what do they do? and are there offcampus and secret meetings or whatever to substitute for that? >> well, what -- that's a good question. >> the pledging. >> with pledging, the way supposed to work is you pick the brothers you want based on interviewing them and talking to them and make them an immediate offer, and they become full members within 96 hours, which means there's not really a lot of time to do any kind of hazing. and there's not supposed to be any kind of force evidence servitude or forced drinking. a lot of members when this happened said this can't be enforced. they're going to do it anyway, just like you were saying. and there was some concern it would hurt -- there's the long
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tradition of this in the military, don't want people who be -- >> boys will be boys. >> definitely boys will be boys. and if i -- not to put steve on the spot. i'm sure he would say it's notice like -- we know that not every rule is being followed all the time and this probably some some hazing going on but it's clear there's less. that'sthat's really -- the datae incontraveritable. the chapters are now safer. if you save some lives, made good progress. >> good question. >> alcoholism is a serious issue and certainly from a health perspective and medical perspective. that is very serious. okay. thank you so much. in fact, mr. churchill, whenever you are.
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>> hi there. my name is -- my question is about hazing. three or four years ago, a story came to light about a hazing death at florida a&m. it was not involving a fraternity fer see. it was involving a marching band, and many people had no idea that hazing was going on in such organizations. i never heard of it in a chess club. just wondering in researching your book, did you uncover any other sort of unexpected hazing rituals that other organizations on campus? >> that's a good question. there was a study from the university of maine that looked into this, and what it found is that about three-quarters of members of greek organizations found -- said they'd been hazed or at least described behavior that amounted to hazing hazing t
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was most of any one on campus, except for varsity athletes. they're about neck and neck. and there's also definitely hazing performing arts bands, there's -- that's been a big problem. there's less hazing in other organizations, and then of course, i think the chess club is probably relatively safe. >> when i showed up to the university of roche chess center 1968, during freshman orientation there was a budweiser beer truck park in the quad. drinking is not necessarily just in fraternities, and that's one point . the other is i was one of 14 members of sigma ki rochester city. we went down to atlanta to our
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convention and got rid of the blackball against blacks, and so there's quite a diversity among -- even within fraternities, isn't there. >> you make a really good opinionment there are hundreds of chapters in big practice tender like sigma ki and sae and chapters says we're going to break away and not going to do this, and you mentioned the blackball. that's really -- blackball is requiring unanimous consent to ask to -- for someone to become a member, and that was used as a way to base keep out block and jewish members. it was very, very hard. i think that has changed over time, and a lot of the -- a lot of local chapters that at least gradually became more diverse. i think you're right. >> or chapter in rochester was heavily jewish and be rushed the
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first black. >> what what. >> host: that was '69. and so that was kind of neat. i found the fraternity experience to be really great. managing your house and trying to make sure that the cook couldn't find his secreted bottles and we'd visit him in the hospital or wherever he was, and keep track of the dog and it was a great experience. >> that's interesting. that should not be counted. there are stories in the book about -- talked to a young man whose mother was dying of breast cancer, and whose fraternity brothers offered him unbelievable support and even made her an honorary member on her death bed, and he said he'll never forget that. always going to feel like they're his brothers, and you do get -- i came across a lot of examples like that where it's really meaningful. so, i think the question is
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whether it can be disentangled from the drinking and other -- certainly seems like it's worth a shot. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> i know you talked about drinking but it seems to me there's this larger endemic problem about the attitudes of the majority of fraternity members for women and minorities. a kilning went to, sae was known as sexual assault expected. so i wonder do you can do these reforms are actually going to change the attitudes, the negative attitudes and perceptions that fraternity members have toward women and minorities and do you think the reforms are enough do that? >> that's a really good question. tubly a chapter called "sect all assault expected." kind of explore that. what found is that it's so hard to even get data or to figure
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out which assault happened. so many of them aren't reported. it is a huge, huge problem, and the surveys definitely show some pretty disturbing attitudes towards women, which do have a long history. there's the certainly the misogynistic aspect, again and again comes out, and my view is that all these education programs are important, and i think that fraternity member are going to be held to account more, given what we're seeing in terms of sexual harassment and assault and hollywood and the media. i think those -- that's going put more and more pressure. in me meantime, though, seems like you don't want fraternity men -- underage fraternity men controlling all the alcohol in the parties at a school because to the attitudes will take a long time to change. there are two currents.
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women are making huge strides in terms of raising awareness of sexual assault, and it's got to make a big difference. >> john, what about -- some schools, fraternity life really dominates in terms of the percentage of people who belong there and other schools it's very small. how much of this plays into the social aspect when it dominates or doesn't dominate? does it change kind of the nature of campus? >> i think so. if you have, like, somewhere between 30 and 50% -- even to% at a big school, and they have some of the best real estate on cam tuesday and -- campus and the best parties or really the only parties. your experience at the school is going to be defined whether you're a member of a fraternity or not, and one of -- a lot of schools now trying to think about can we have alternatives, build houses -- alcohol-free
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housing that is so nice that people might choose it? there's all kinds of ways that could change. >> question here. >> i've read most of the book. i haven't seen anything about parents. i wonder if there's any indication or any knowledge about what role parents do or don't play in preparing their youngsters, men in this case, to behave properly in college? >> we all went home for the first time. right? >> well, we have a son who is so appall by what he saw at the university to which he went that he wrote an essay about chit was published in the student newspaper. he thought that was the wrong thing to do. he didn't learn that at the university. i just wonder. we didn't give him a lot of moral instruction. just wasn't necessary.
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but i keep feeling, you know, parents have a responsibility to team morality to their kids, and of course religious institutions play a role in that if the parents happen to be participants in a religious community, which most americans now are not. i wonder about that. >> a great question. and also goes back to this mob mentality that even if you have one or two people who just believe that something is wrong, it's really hard to push against that. >> i think -- i didn't mention this before but there's a legal change in the -- starting in the '60s. colleges no longer were considered stand-ins for parents , in loco parentis and now colleges -- that gave students a lot more right than they used to had. it's harder to discipline students. they have due process which they
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can find, and the colleges aren't really in the same kind of parental role. so one of the -- one thing i feel strongly about is doesn't make sense to have freshmen move into a fraternity house where there's not an adult living there, or at least under very strict adult supervision, because then you -- yeah, you have this possibility of lord of the flies and there's a later chapper in the book where a young man takes this chapter, troubled chapter at ohio state under his wing, and really makes it his kind of calling to sort of model behavior on him about how to treat people, how to treat women under his guidance, the chapter president actually turned in a brother for -- because what he thought was disturbing behavior toward women. so, parents need ask questions
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and talk about how they might be -- there could be real consequences could be expelled and all of that and parents have a role and adult alumni. >> i want to know if in doing your research, if you got into the psychology of why hazing continues? it seems to me something much deeper than tradition, and i just really curious about why it doesn't stop. >> well, a great question. first of all, it goes back to like medieval times and english boarding schools and this desire for the upper -- the older men to kind of abuse the younger men and assert their power, and i think it's -- if you set up a program where the older students
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have any kind of power over the younger students like that, it inevitably happens. there's this whole concept of very rigid kind of ridge ed notions of masculinity that is enforced through hazing and there's a lot of good research on that. the fraternals in particular i think -- fraternity in particular, once colleges bake co-ed there was a fear of being looked at as -- there's homophobia, basically, so enforcing the view of macho view that you're tough, like a marine, so that the weak will be tossed out, helped enforce that. and so it is really -- it is tough, and militaries have a lot of trouble getting rid of hazing fraternity have been trying to get rid of hazing like in the
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30s and 40s. how weak is the last week where a crescendo of violence against the younger kids. a little light hazing is okay but there's true zero tolerance policy is the only way. >> thank you for addressing this important subject. does your book go into black fraternities and also does got into drug use, since some places marijuana is now legal? >> that's a request question. i didn't -- i talk about african-american fraternities in term offed the history of the exclusionary behavior of historically white fraternities. also, in terms of the hazing of black fraternals which has been a huge problem. it's interesting. actually typically a different kind of hazing.
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much more physical abuse. so, there have been cases of people being beaten by two-by-fours, much less focused on drinking. so that's where a lot of the deaths have happened. it's a serious problem. the drinking is actually less of an issue in african-american fraternity that in historically white fraternities. >> there's a new question behind you. just want to -- >> one other question. did you look at legacy and comes to mind because when someone asked about parents. i mean, many of the leadership and faculty on college campuses and stuff, and even with these fraternals, are members that maybe they're grands grands and great-grandparents. did you look at that in terms of tradition. >> legacy is a big issue. it's actually one of the reasons why shares still so much segregation in fraternities, specialfully schools, very
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strong, old fraternity cultures. i have a chapter about the university of alabama where fraternities recruit in high school in the same feeder schools, and so if you come from -- you're a first generation student, you're at a hodge disadvantage and probably not even a space for you. that makes it very difficult. so i think the whole legacy issue is big. a ohio state this fraternity that turned itself around, stop looking at legacy. we'll pick the one we want and don't girl if they're fathers or grandfathers or -- and some places great-grandfathers -- and made a big difference. >> i don't have a question. mr. churchill called me a couple of times and wanted to say hell hello. i went to iowa state university and i joined a fraternity for one reason to make friends quickly when i was in school. a great experience for me and i
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served hope to board for ten years. when i first joined the board we didn't have a huge issue with the deaths that related to alcohol and it's because they really became compounded that we looked at that. when i was in school, we didn't really drink hard alcohol and the drinking age was 19, and when the drinking age went to 21 at iowa state, two things happened. one is fraternities became bars because there was no really safe place for people to drink, and second was, fraternity outlawed -- they wanted to make sure that people weren't drinking too much. but what happened? they went to hard alcohol. have not one single death in through beer. beer does a lot of things, causes you to act stupid but does not necessarily lead to death, and so that's interesting. i wasn't sure what to think when
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you said you were writing the book. i think you did an accurate job. i didn't enjoy every page of the book but i learned a lot. there's a lot i learned about my fraternity and a lot of members learned. so it's a gift to look at that history. even the students in college say, we debated whether or not it was necessary to have protection for individuals in our bylaws in determines of discrimination. young people said, i don't see discrimination. they weren't part of the civil rights movement and don't see it. anyone when they see the book they can say, hmm there, was a history here so makes more sense. so you give us a teaching tool that is a painful but when you about racial relations in fraternity, not just an issue for the fraternity. this is an issue for the united states of america. an issue we're all struggling with. now, fraternities were not a leader in the civil rights movement but i think we worked pretty much where the country
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was at that him that. also the country has evolved, we have evolved but takes the leaders of the organization to say this is important, we're going to try to make a difference. so few for doing a fair job with the book and i think it will be a good tool for greek organizations across the country. >> well, thank you. and thank you so much for your help with this. would not have been possible without -- [applause] -- being so open. >> do you this moe sae members agree with him in terms of fair novembers the book? >> that's a good question. i'm not sure they do. i. >> i don't know you can dispute what you have written. it what it. you took it right out over past. do they like it is print in probably not about i haven't heard anyone talk about its accuracy in term's of not being accurate and had a good, positive ending. and so in terms of hopeful
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future that things can change with the right types of leaders. you're at the convention. when you look around the room, pretty diverse group of students. the alumni were not so diverse and that's half the voting members which is the challenging part. when you looked the group of students, look like pretty diverse group. >> that's definitely true. you make a good point. if you look at the history of higher education, you look at places like harvard, yale and princeton, it's pretty ugly, the comments about jews and minorities and a lot of resistance to women, and they've changed. so, i think that that's possible that fraternities could, too. i do think that maybe -- they're a little later adopters of some of these. by '69, '70,schools already started to change, but --
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>> steve brought up a good point by saying, when you went to iowa state. >> joined because you wanted friends, right? and frank has this piece in the times about a first-year student and it's a real struggle for first-year students, particularly for men. women -- i think this is a key different between fraternities and sororities. women tend to be able to find their social networks on campuses in the first couple of weeks but men struggle and they struggle in higher education could this be a real role for fraternities in terms of that social cohesive unless? you talk about reform. maybe they shouldn't pledge the first semester of a freshman year, but at the same time that's when the might be most needed. >> that's what fraternities argue. there's a lot of resistance to that because they'll say that betterrer outcomes if people have that -- might drop out. >> there's some part of that. and then i mentioned that -- you
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mentioned sororities. interesting -- i don't know if you saw that study, steve, from union college, that fraternity membership increases your earnings by a third. it was -- what was really interesting is that wasn't true about sororities, and one of the hypotheses that the researchers had is that women without sororities are actually still pretty good at coming one with networks and finding support, and men just maybe they're not, and this is actually really, really helpful. i don't know. probably needed more research. >> i don't think you have anybody behind you. so, i think we're going to be wrapping up. so, john, any last thoughts, anything that we didn't talk about in the conversation? >> well, trying to think if -- we did cover a lot. >> let me ask you a question.
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i asked if his fellow brothers would think the same thing in terms of fair unless. what i'm shocked about is they cooperated with this. did that prize you, you would get their cooperation? >> didn't surprise me later in the process because after operating the series about the deadlyiest fraternity, i did a story where i was also welcomed in, and i knew that. >> brad cohen and steve churchill were okay with this. i never written about -- never written an investigative series about an organization and then had the reaction you heard from steve, which is this is helpful. we need this. we can use this to educate people. so that makes me hopeful and that's a testament to a desire for real reform.
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>> "true gentleman," great read and well-written and please join me in thinking john hechinger. >> thank you all for coming out. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> book tv is on twitter and facebook. we want to hear from you.


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